JEFFERSONVILLE — Ports of Indiana-Jeffersonville will receive more than 30 barges by June 30 destined for a local cement facility undergoing a $600 million expansion project.
Lehigh Cement Inc. is shipping large pieces of cargo to the Ports of Indiana-Jeffersonville destined for its cement facility in Mitchell, nearly 50 miles from the southeast Indiana port. More than 350 pieces of equipment and plant parts, some as large as 100 tons, are being shipped by barge via the inland river system to Ports of Indiana-Jeffersonville.
“We are pleased to play a key role in a local project that will have a huge impact on the community and region,” said Port Director Jeff Miles. “Our port has enabled the competitive economics that are only available by using the Inland River System, which is an important component to the national freight system, particularly for bulk commodities.”
The large equipment and plant parts arrive from an international manufacturer inbound to New Orleans, then transported by Ceres Barge Co. to the Ports of Indiana-Jeffersonville and unloaded by Sterret Crane and Rigging’s crane and Watco Terminal & Port Services, the port’s general cargo stevedore, into a storage area until it is ready to be hauled by truck to the final destination at the Mitchell plant site. The Indiana Department of Transportation will accommodate an estimated 80 super loads (over 18 feet in height) scheduled to come through Southern Indiana this summer and fall.
“Ports of Indiana-Jeffersonville has significant experience and reputation for quickly and efficiently transporting products by water, road and rail,” said Tracy Crowther, Lehigh Cement plant manager. “The expansion project has a lot of moving pieces and given the delay last year, timing, cost-savings and logistics is critical to keep things moving forward. It is a huge benefit to utilize the port that also happens to be in our back yard.”
“With year-round access to the Gulf of Mexico through the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, we often move large cargo beyond our customers that live in our ports,” added Miles. “Our integrated freight transportation and logistics system provide access to over two-thirds of the U.S. market within a day’s drive.”
The Ports of Indiana-Jeffersonville handles over 2 million tons of cargo per year in the Louisville metro area and supports 13,000 total jobs, many of which are in the auto, appliance and agriculture industries.
The year-over-year barge volume increased by 62% due to the increased movement of grain and heavy cargo.
The Lehigh Cement company’s $600 million expansion project will increase activity for the City of Mitchell in the next three years and will add around 50 jobs once the new plant becomes operational in 2023.